Abbotsford man loses $1,900 in immigration phone scam

Caller, using a spoofed phone number, threatens the victim with deportation

Abbotsford man loses $1,900 in immigration phone scam

An Abbotsford man is out almost $2,000 after falling victim to a phone scam in which the caller, purporting to be from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, threatened him with deportation.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the man, 30, received the call in the early afternoon of April 20 and was told to pay $4,280 within seven hours or he would face deportation.

He was instructed to purchased pre-loaded credit cards and wait for a call back.

The conversation took place in both English and Punjabi.

The victim believed the call was legitimate because the call display on his phone said “Citizenship and Immigration Canada.” He also searched the number online and it came up as being associated with the government agency.

The man purchased $1,900 in pre-loaded credit cards from a local business and, while still there, spoke again with the caller to share the card information.

The caller then demanded that the victim pay the balance.

Meanwhile, an employee of the business where the credit cards were purchased noticed the victim was agitated, and she contacted the Abbotsford Police Department (APD).

Patrol officers met with the victim in the parking lot of the business and quickly determined that he had been the victim of a scam.

Although the phone number was “spoofed” and made to appear as if it were coming from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it was actually coming from another number.

MacDonald said an officer at the scene even spoke with the caller when he again contacted the victim while he was speaking with police.

The officer identified himself as being with the Abbotsford Police Department, and the caller became aggressive and demanded that the officer verify his role before he hung up.

MacDonald said the incident is still under investigation.

MacDonald advised citizens to be suspicious of any activity where money is to be immediately paid or transferred in order to stave off repercussions from authorities.

“Variations of this type of fraud are plentiful,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225, text abbypd (222973) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.